He is 28, but his culinary resume reads like a seasoned 40-something. Washington, D.C. native Executive Chef Barton Seaver, a StarChefs.com Rising Star of 2006 and recently nominated as a Rising Star Chef by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, of Hook was taught at an early age about the importance of food.
Dinner in the Seaver home was a seven nights a week family affair. Eating dinner with his family was a communal celebration and involved shopping for the freshest ingredients at local markets, instilling this value in him at a young age. Mac and Cheese was never just out of the box, but prepared with a homemade bamel cheese sauce and pasta made from scratch. Summers spent at a family friends hog farm on the Chesapeake Bay, along with crabbing and going with his father to buy fresh seafood from local fisherman, taught Seaver the importance of supporting local purveyors and using quality and fresh ingredients.
According to Seaver, "Seasonality and locality made sense to me early on." Seaver began his professional career working for popular D.C. restaurants such as Ardeo, Felix, and Greenwood. After years of invaluable kitchen experience, Seaver made his way to Hyde Park, New York, where he trained at the renowned Culinary Institute of America. During his schooling, he spent time in the kitchens of Tru restaurant and The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton under Sarah Stegner in Chicago.
Upon graduating with honors, he immediately took a fellowship position at C.I.A. as a graduate teacher in both the meat and fish classes. Working in this hands-on environment taught Seaver the importance of proper handling and techniques of exceptionally fresh products, all the while giving him direct access to sources of fish through the eastern seaboard ports. Under the guidance of Chef Corky Clark, he learned to appreciate underutilized species of fish and became a proponent of sustainable ocean products.
Seaver is a certified sommelier through the Sommelier Society of America and is continuing his studies with Wine and Spirits Educational Trust in London. Recently, he was asked to join the Board of Directors of DC Central Kitchen as the culinary force behind the non-profits educational programs. Additionally, he is also active in the Slow Food movement, and recently cooked at the bi-annual Slow Food Terra Madre conference in October 2006 in Italy. Other organization involvements include the Chefs Collaborative, the James Beard Foundation, the National Restaurant Association, the International Seafood Conference, Chefs Congress, a culinary resource to the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Seafood Alliance. As a firm believer in the idea that chefs are the keepers of food culture, he is publishing a monthly article for the online newsletter for StarChefs.com.
In an effort to educate fellow industry members, Chef Seaver will address the issue of sustainability from the perspective of a chef offering solutions to common problems they face in their profession such as buying decisions and their responsibility as the definers of what is fashionable eating. Monthly columns are archived on the StarChefs.com website with new articles posting on the 15th of each month.
Striped Bass - Cooking the Fish
This video will show how to cook striped bass.
This expert: 1,121,472 views
Striped Bass - Cooking the Fish
1 T cooking oil
4 5-oz. wild striped bass, skin on
1. Generously season the filets with kosher salt 20 minutes before you begin to cook them.
2. Get a cast steel or cast iron pan on high heat. Add in 1T cooking oil. When oil is very hot carefully place filets skin side down in pan. Gently press each filet down with spatula to ensure skin is in even contact with pan before adding next filet.
3. Cook until skin begins to crisp and take on golden brown color - should be about 3 minutes. Gently flip filets and turn off the heat - allow to sit for about 2 minutes in order to continue cooking using the built up heat of the pan.
Barton Seaver: Hi, I am Barton Seaver and today we are finishing off our wild striped bass fillet. In this segment. I am going to show you how to start cooking the fish. We are also going to finish off our broccoli. So in a pan here, you can see it's slightly smoking, it's a nice little saut pan on high heat and use a little bit of cooking oil and something I like to do is mix a little bit of cooking oil with a little bit of butter. Now the butter in the oil mixture allows the butter not to burn quite so quickly, but you get all the flavor out of it as well. So you will see as that begins to melt in there and slightly brown, we are going to take our fish. Now even though it's been brined what we are going to do with it is, we are going to salt it just a little bit, well it's for texture as well as flavor. So this is kosher salt, I am just putting it on the skin side not so much on the flesh side. Our butter you can see has totally melted and beginning to brown and be very careful when you do this. Take your skin side and lay it in and lay it away from you than nothing splashes. Now as you can see what's happening with this fillet is that it's curling up as that skin begins to cook. So what I will do, we will just take the spatula here, and just push it down so that the skin maintains contact with the pan the whole time and that's how you really get it to crisp up. It's the pan, that's what has the heat. So we would just do that. Now I need to do this a couple of times and then the skin will get the idea and behave for you.
Now, what we are going to want to do is we have this on high heat when we first put them in there, but as we cook, we are going to want to turn the heat down a little bit to just over medium. Now what that's going to do is allow it to slowly cook as the skin begins to crisp up and the fish cooks gently and slowly throughout. Then what we will do once the skin is crisp, we will turn it over and let the heat of the pan continue to cook it very, very slowly. At that point you could throw it into an oven but I like to just do it here on stove top, so it's in your head you don't forget anything. So while this is going, this will probably take about five minutes to cook. I like the fish just under well done and medium to medium well I think is good. You end up with a lot of moisture retention, great flavor to the fish. So we have got our broccoli over here, which is being sauting with the onions. I have turned the heat down a little bit to give us sometime to get everything rolling. So watch this, as soon you flip it over, you see our broccoli, it's got that nice, dark caramalisation to it. It's got that crispy texture to it absolutely awesome. You could never have broccoli prepared that way. You probably won't have it any other way if you try like this. So you can see the onions will sit down a little bit and begin to caramelize, it's a little bit hot. So what I was telling about before ,is we are going to finish it off with little bit of currants and pine nuts. The currants are going to add a nice sweetness to this as well as those slightly caramelized onions, those are sweet as well. Then we have got our pine nuts, I will throw out those in there. What we will do is bring that up to high temperature again, just sort of integrate all those ingredients into. Now at this point we are pretty much done with our broccoli, we have our pine sauce over here. So what we will do here, is with our fish, skin is probably pretty crisp by now, oh yeah, nice. So we will turn these over and we will just let it sit in the pan on that medium heat, medium low heat for another five minutes or so and then we will start plating.